They Don’t Need to be Endlessly Answered: It’s a Race!

You would think that by immersing ourselves in the scriptures, discovering God in Christ, realizing that we are saved by grace, and living under God’s mercy, we would be considerate, courteous, understanding, friendly, energetic, grateful, and motivated. But it isn’t so. It wasn’t so in the early church, it wasn’t so in Corinth, and it isn’t so in your church or mine.

The church will always have critics in the pews.

And even though they may need to be answered,

They Don’t Need to be Endlessly Answered.

We really don’t have any more time to spend talking about these criticisms, Paul is essentially saying.

There’s something more important at hand.

There’s a race to be run, and we all need to be in it.

We’re going somewhere together,

and this act of going requires all our attention, all our discipline, and all our energy. We’re not spectators watching what other people do and commenting on it; we’re runners.

And if we’re running the race, we don’t have breath left over to talk about the other runners.

Running is a good metaphor for living the Christian life. It’s requires training and concentration,

it implies a goal, it excludes spectators,

It gathers the participants into a camaraderie that overcomes differences.

You don’t have to understand or like or affirm the other runners to run with them.

It’s the goal that defines the race, and your act of running defines you as a runner.

That’s what we are doing, Paul tells us. We’re runners. The church isn’t a club in which we try to understand one another, or even get along with each other.

The church isn’t a club at all; it’s a race.

And if we’re in a race, there’s precious little energy left over for the kind of discussions you seem to be engaging in.

His point?
Quit complaining and start running.

(Eugene Peterson’s contemplation of 1 Corinthians 9)


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